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Deaths at workplace [Bangladesh Today Editorial]

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The Bangladesh Today

Published on January 13, 2011

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Some 383 workers were killed in 270 workplace accidents across the country in 2010 showing a sharp rise in death toll compared to 265 during the previous year. Safety and Rights Society, an NGO working for ensuring safety and rights of workers, on Tuesday revealed the figures, compiled from reports from 26 major dailies across the country.

Sekender Ali Miah, programme director of Safety and Rights, revealing the figures at a press conference said the casualty figure is lower than the actual. It is likely that all the accident deaths had not been reported by the daily newspapers.

The highest number of workers (152) was killed in factories and manufacturing units followed by construction sites (142), service organisations like hotel, workshop, power supply organisations (63) and others (26). Some 98 were electrocuted while 92 were burnt to death, 51 died after falling from high places like scaffolds, and 26 workers were killed by suffocation from poisonous gas.Some 116 other workers died from various reasons including boiler burst, chemical or gas explosions, earth, roof or wall collapse, hit by hard objects and entangled with machines. The organisation suggested proper monitoring of regulatory bodies, factory inspectorate to enforce relevant laws, separate health and safety policy for respective organisations and safety plan before construction work.

It goes without saying that an accident takes place accidentally, without any prior notice. But at work places all necessary precautions should be made for the protection of the workers from accident and death. In the recent past it has been seen that there is lack of adequate preventive measures and precaution against accidents in RMG factories and shops and warehouses of chemicals and explosives. Steps should be taken to improve this situation. Moreover, arrangements should be made for sufficient compensations for the victims of the accidents at workplaces.